Understanding the Alaskan Way, Mind, and Soul
Alaskans are a difficult bunch at the best of times, but during summer we are nearly impossible. If you’ve tried making plans with an Alaskan recently, you have my sympathy. Just as there is nothing in the world so wonderful as an Alaskan summer, there are none so crazy as Alaskans during summer.
Alaskan kids are also transformed into grubby little maniacs, strung out on popsicles and toasted marshmallows, who mostly inhabit the wild margins where emerald woodlands meet overgrown lawns.
After surviving winter, missing out on these endless golden days is a fundamental violation of Alaskan morality. Sunshine is to be enjoyed and the outdoors exploited, whether by fishing, hunting, camping, gardening, off-roading, hiking, relaxing, etc… The freedom to step outside without layers and layers of winter gear is intoxicating. Taken in combination, the surges of serotonin, vitamin D, warm weather, super-long daylight hours, and adrenalin-laced outdoor opportunities will push most Alaskans from general cheerfulness into full blown summer mania.
Alaskan kids are also transformed into grubby little maniacs, strung out on popsicles and toasted marshmallows, who mostly inhabit the wild margins where emerald woodlands meet overgrown lawns. Their parents aren’t in much better shape, though many will bathe on occasion to placate their employers.
Thankfully, most Alaskan employers and managers are also Alaskans. Annoying obstacles to living outdoors (for example: normal hours of operation, dress codes, and corporate standards) are expediently chucked for the duration of summer. Don’t tell the out-of-state corporate reps, but no one pulls off a dog and pony show like a bunch of Alaskan employees in the throes of summer mania. They clean up for that brief inspection visit and expertly deflect any unhelpful questions with more pertinent inquiries of their own, such as “Have you seen Denali yet?” or “Do you like smoked salmon?”
An approaching weekend is a perfectly legitimate reason to close the office early, even days ahead of time. During the fishing and hunting seasons, just expect your doctor, dentist, CPA, contractor, etc… to disappear for weeks at a time. While government employees are still trapped in their cubicles during summer, they do get federal holidays and generous benefit packages, so no one feels sorry for them.
Once we make it outdoors, we don’t worry about snakes, scorpions, ticks, poison ivy, etc… Basically, most of the bad gonna-hurt-you things in Alaska look like bad things. You can spot them from a comfortable distance if you pay attention to your surroundings. Beyond that, summer and Alaska combined offer limitless options for epic fun. And the backdrops to our adventures, even our selfies, are magnificent.
Alaskan summers are truly perfect. Comfortable warmth pairs sublimely with cool breezes that chase off excessive heat. As the sun meanders oh so slowly towards the northern horizon, evenings take on just enough of a chill to justify another campfire. After all, there’s still half a bag of marshmallows to finish off. Then golden sunlight fades into an alpenglow that lasts for hours until someone makes the mistake of checking the time. “Almost midnight already? Oh well. Just let the kids sleep in tomorrow. What’s the point of summer if we can’t enjoy it?”